So tomorrow will be three weeks with my Dexcom and I really WANT to love this thing. The problem is its so far off sometimes and feel like I'm just wasting time and money with it. My first sensor (abdomen) lasted 13 days, which I thought was great. It had moments of accurancy but for the most part it seemed to be way off. My second sensor (also abdomen) was great! I thought FINALLY, then after 4 days it fell out during a round of golf. Even with a tegaderm patch over it. Last night I tried sensor 3 (back of arm) and I nearly passed out from the pain of hitting a muscle. So finally I went with sensor 4 in my lower back and the readings are so erratic im thinking of retiring this thing.
I HATE my Dexcom. The numbers have never been very accurate and the adhesive gives me a severe rash - actually leaves scars. It also falls off when I golf or cycle. I have tried just about everything but nothing helps. My doctor has given me the task of finding an adhesive that I can where under the sensor but I have not been very motivated in doing so since I find the Dexcom a real pain in the butt.
Its a love/ hate relationship with these CGMs! I have sworn off it for weeks and then re visit nd its good. Try to be patient and know that it is not something to relay on and use for knowledge. I have found it works most efficiently only when Bgs are in normal range.
My CDE actually mentioned that it can help to take a break from the Dexcom, using what you learned from the trends hopefully (remember Dexcom only claims to be a TRENDS device and likes to remind you that our blood glucose meters are also allowed that 20% error which in my mind is about as good as nothing). So I changed my pump's bolus and basal rates after 6 weeks on the Dexcom and then went off it for a while (actually brought on by having to use Tylenol for a couple weeks). And my meter sugars have been much better than they were before those adjustment, plus my A1C went down by a .5 - so I guess the trick is to try it, be as savvy with it as you can be, then just use what helps you and makes sense to you, then go off it for a while and see how it goes. I plan to get back on after 6 weeks off and see what I think. 6 weeks on, 6 weeks off. Just a thought. So many people I know absolutely love it, so I'm not ready to completely give up. Read all these blogs, too. A dr using it told me to place it up higher in the abdomen, near the first rib, where there is less fat. His readings have been near perfect in accuracy. Stuff like that is all over this web site.
Dexcom will be a lot more inaccurate when your BS swings rapidly up or down, that seems to confuse it the most. Sensor lots do seem to vary as well - some boxes will last longer and be less prone to 'Error1', some will Error1 in 5-6 days, I am finishing a box where they all Error1 within 6 days.
I agree with some of the other replies in that you can learn a lot about trending and the effects of exercise or other activities, and adjust your basals on your pump accordingly. It is easy to get into the habit of just looking at the Dex and not doing blood tests, but that is dangerous as you already know. What got me into that bad habit was having a Freestyle Navigator for about 2 years - once it got through the calibration process, it was almost dead accurate for the rest of the sensor life. I do wish they would re-introduce that into the US again, although with some design changes.
Another suggestion would be, since you have only had the Dex for 3 weeks, is to use abdomen only and 7 days per sensor - at least to start, since this is the only supported configuration and what the system was designed for. After you get a feel for how it works for you and its quirks, then try the different sites, etc. Again just some thoughts, CGM still is not perfect but pretty worth it, especially if you have lost your symtoms of lows. Good luck!
Hey Mike --
Threads like this really make me shake my head, man! I'm so sorry you're not doing well with it (your Dex), as it represents the single biggest positive change for my diabetes care in 30+ years. Sure, it's off now and then, but so is my Ultra One-Touch (sometimes I take back to back tests with my meter, and they are hardly ever the same...). I just had a blood panel done a few weeks ago, and my A1c is at 5 (!!!). I've never, ever even been close to a 5 (last one in January after using the Dex for only a couple of months was 6.7). I attribute this drop to my Dex alone. It is teaching me soooo much.
So, of course this reply is not meant to make you feel bad in any way (you already feel bad about it, I know), but just to let you know that it can be a miracle device. Sadly, I don't know what to tell you about any of your issues as I don't have any of them. I'm a very active MTBer and I sweat like a stuck pig -- no issues with it falling off; I'm putting it on my arm now -- no issues with pain there, and my arms are not fat at all.
Talk to you Dex rep about what is going on. Try to be patient. It's a helluva device -- hopefully you can get on track with it.
I think the source of one of your problems is you're just getting too much exercise. Quit sweating! I've found that the sensor NEVER falls off if you just spend most of your time watching TV, driving around in your car, or hanging out at McDonald's eating French Fries. Also, quit looking at the individual reading every 5 minuets and instead concentrate on the pattern.
Those are the tips I follow. And as a result, I think its a nice tool. Except I can't figure out why I seem to be gaining all this extra weight after being on the Dexcom. Must be one of its side effects.